Results tagged ‘ Mark Reynolds ’

Decisions, decisions …

la-sp-billy-eppler-angels-la0031516476-20151005I wrote earlier today about first-year GM Billy Eppler keeping his options open and why he’ll probably rely heavily on a loaded free-agent class.

The Angels enter the offseason with up to six needs for their Major League club: catcher, second base, third base, utility infield, left field and a back-end reliever, ideally a lefty. They could also opt to sign a front-line starter, but that’s more of a luxury than an actual need. They have starting pitching depth. But signing an attractive free-agent starter (David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, etc.) could free Eppler up to trade from that starting-pitching depth and fill other needs.

Below is a look at some of the more attractive free-agent and (potential) trade options at each of the Angels’ positions of need. You’ll probably notice right away that I didn’t include Matt Wieters among catchers. I just don’t expect them to bid so high for him. 

(* indicates they were given a qualifying offer)


Free agents: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Brayan Pena, Dioner Navarro, Alex Avila, Geovany Soto
Trades: Stephen Vogt (OAK), Jonathan Lucroy (MIL), Wilson Ramos (WAS), Gary Sanchez (NYY)


Free agents: Howie Kendrick*, Daniel Murphy*, Ben Zobrist, Chase Utley
Trades: Neil Walker (PIT), Brandon Phillips (CIN), Aaron Hill (ARI), Hanser Alberto (TEX)


Free agents: David Freese, Juan Uribe, Mark Reynolds,Casey McGehee
Trades: Trevor Plouffe (MIN), Yunel Escobar (WAS), Todd Frazier (CIN), Martin Prado (MIA)


Free agents: Sean Rodriguez, Mike Aviles, Asdrubal Cabrera, Cliff Pennington, Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew
Trades: Jed Lowrie (HOU)


Free agents: Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton*, Jason Heyward*, Alex Gordon*, Gerardo Parra, Colby Rasmus*, Nori Aoki
Trades: Preston Tucker (HOU), Brett Gardner (NYY), Josh Reddick (OAK), Jay Bruce (CIN), Yasiel Puig (LAD), Carl Crawford (LAD), Andre Ethier (LAD), David Peralta (ARI)


Free agents: Tony Sipp, Antonio Bastardo, Matt Thornton, Oliver Perez, Neal Cotts, Rich Hill
Trades: Mike Dunn (MIA)


What can the Angels get for Kendrys Morales? …

Kendrys MoralesThe ideal chip for the Angels’ next, seemingly inevitable trade for a starting pitcher is Kendrys Morales.

It’s hard to deny that. Morales is coming into his final season before free agency and — given his representation (Scott Boras) and his desire to be more than a full-time DH — will leave after 2013.

Trading him now would give the Angels an outfield foursome of Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo (with Vernon Wells‘ contract probably still lingering). Trout, Bourjos and Trumbo are still in their pre-arbitration years and all four are under club control until at least 2016. Trout (probably left field), Bourjos (center) and Hamilton (right) would make up one of the game’s best outfields — offensively and defensively — and would give the Angels somewhat of a revolving door at DH. Trumbo would get the most reps there, but his versatility would allow Hamilton and Albert Pujols, who need to stay on the field to maximize their nine-figure contracts, can start there, too, when needed.

But what kind of starting pitcher can Morales bring back?

The Angels will seemingly be selling pretty high on the 29-year-old switch-hitter. He’s coming off his first healthy season since 2009, batting .273 with 22 homers, 73 RBIs and a .787 OPS. Morales, who missed almost two full seasons with a couple of ankle surgeries, even proved he can still handle first base. Then there’s the belief that he’ll be even better in 2013, with the motivation of an expiring contract and a full season under his belt. That’s a pretty good package for a guy who will make about $4 million next year, and teams desperate for power — particularly from the left side of the plate — would no doubt love to have him.

Still, though, his market is limited, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a National League club willing to gamble on him as their everyday first baseman and because we’re at a point in the offseason when most teams no longer have big holes to fill. Of course, the Angels would love to move Wells, but I can’t imagine them getting back any significant starter for him, even if they eat the vast majority of the $42 million owed to him the next two years. They’ll also keep listening on Bourjos and Trumbo, and may pull the trigger if blown away by a top-tier, cost-controlled starter. But as Ken Rosenthal of wrote on Twitter recently, the priority is to deal Morales for an innings-eater.

Who can they get?

Here are three potential (and purely speculative) AL fits …

Rays: I know, it’s the first place everyone goes. But Tampa Bay always seems like an ideal match because they’re (still) rich in starters and could always use offense. Right now the Rays have James Loney at first base, with somewhat of a platoon at DH with the right-handed-hitting Ryan Roberts and the left-handed-hitting Sam Fuld. Morales would give them a big upgrade, and someone who can protect Evan Longoria. But he wouldn’t get the Angels Jeremy Hellickson or Matt Moore, or probably even Alex Cobb. Maybe Jeff Niemann, who’s under club control for two more years and would cost about $3 million in arbitration in 2013? The Rays did pick up some flexibility for the rotation by signing Roberto Hernandez on Tuesday.

Orioles: They still seek a middle-of-the-order bat, have a spot open at DH and seemingly have some pitching they can afford to part ways with. Righties Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman, and lefties Zach Britton and Brian Matusz are all young with upside, but with the exception of Tillman, they all struggled last year. Would the O’s be willing to part ways with the 24-year-old Tillman, one of few bright spots in an eclectic starting staff that ranked ninth in the AL in ERA last year? And given his past inconsistencies, can the Angels do better?

Indians: They’re trying to woo free-agent outfielder Nick Swisher, but could always use more offense, and Morales could split time at DH and first base with the right-handed-hitting Mark Reynolds. What about Justin Masterson, who had a rough 2012 season but has topped 200 innings the last two years and is signed for two more years? Well, he isn’t an ace, but he’s listed as Cleveland’s No. 1 pitcher, so they’d probably be very hesitant to give him up for K-Mo. Here’s another intriguing name: Ubaldo JimenezHe’s been a shell of himself the last couple years, but he’s been relatively healthy, will make $5.75 million in 2013 and has an $8 million option for 2014. Perhaps working with his old catcher, Chris Iannetta, can get him back on track.

The important thing to ask yourself is whether any of these guys would be an upgrade over the 24-year-old Garrett Richards, who has yet to start a full season in the Majors but has a lot of upside. Adding another starter would likely push Richards to Triple-A, with Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton making up the rest of the staff, and Jerome Williams likely returning to the long-relief role. The Angels’ front office will have some important decisions to make before Spring Training (and perhaps they’ll linger beyond that). Do they hold onto Bourjos and Trumbo, keeping their position-player roster deep but not improving the rotation a whole lot? Or do they trade one of those two — or both, or more — to land the impact starter they could still use?


Game 75: Orioles-Angels …

Angels (41-33)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Mark Trumbo, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Erick Aybar, SS
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (7-1, 2.40 ERA)

Orioles (41-32)

Brian Roberts, 2B
J.J. Hardy, SS
Chris Davis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Matt Wieters, C
Wilson Betemit, 3B
Mark Reynolds, 1B
Nick Johnson, 1B
Steve Pearce, LF

Pitching: RH Jason Hammel (8-2, 2.61 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • The return of Chris Iannetta (forearm strain) continues to be delayed. He was shut down recently for the second time, had a contrast MRI last week (weeks after getting an MRI when the forearm first flared up) and won’t re-start throwing for a couple days. “He’s fine,” manager Mike Scioscia insisted. “You’re just ruling some things out, and he’ll be throwing out here in a couple days.”
  • Rookie reliever David Carpenter has only appeared in two games since June 6, but Scioscia believes the difference in workload between his current role and one he’d have in the Minors (probably about 20 appearances when it’s all set and done) makes it more beneficial for him to stay in the Majors. “I think the experience he’s getting up here is going to be invaluable to him. Although he’s not the finished product, you can use the experience here and if you ever go back to the minor leagues or get an opportunity to pitch in a better role in the big leagues, you can use that as a platform to hopefully grow from.”
  • In case you missed it from last night … With his fifth-inning homer last night, Pujols has now homered against every team except the Cardinals, and has hit one out in 34 big league stadiums (including the World Series).
  • Aybar is riding a season-long 11-game hitting streak, the longest by an Angels player this year. His .321 BA in June tops all AL shortstops.
  • Jerome Williams came out of his sim game fine and will throw a bullpen session tomorrow.

Some links from Tuesday …

  • Angels tee off at Camden Yards
  • Notebook, on Trout’s homecoming, Trumbo’s HR Derby chances, Jerome’s sim game and Mickey Hatcher‘s new job
  • Question of the Day, on Peter Bourjos
  • Preview, on the Weaver-Hammel matchup

Some AL West links …

And in the end, LeBron James had the last laugh.


Game 74: Orioles-Angels …

Welcome to Baltimore, the start of a nine-game road trip and a swing that will see the Angels play 16 of their next 20 on the road. (I know, because I’ll be covering all of them.) …

Angels (40-33)

Mike Trout, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Mark Trumbo, DH
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Erick Aybar, SS
Maicer Izturis, 3B
Peter Bourjos, CF
John Hester, C

Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (8-4, 2.44 ERA)

Orioles (41-31)

Brian Roberts, 2B
J.J. Hardy, SS
Adam Jones, CF
Matt Wieters, C
Mark Reynolds, DH
Wilson Betemit, 1B
Steve Pearce, RF
Steve Tolleson, LF
Robert Andino, 3B

Pitching: LH Brian Matusz (5-8, 5.00 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Oriole Park at Camden Yards happens to be about a two-hour trek from the small town of Millville, N.J., where Trout grew up. And pretty much the entire town is here. There are about 10 reporters here to write stories on Trout’s surge, and one of them told me there will be like 1,000 people — including his parents and high school coaches — here to see him play.
  • Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, Trout now leads the AL in batting average at .338, with Paul Konerko sliding down to second at .337.
  • Former Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher was hired by his former team, the Dodgers, to be a special assistant to GM Ned Colletti.
  • Jerome Williams (asthma) threw a 51-pitch simulated game and felt good. He could get in a rehab game at some point this week, and it’s looking like he’ll be ready to be activated off the DL when eligible, on July 4.

Some links from Monday …

Some AL West links …

And The Big 3 was on Oprah.


Game 14: Orioles-Angels …

Orioles (8-5)

Nolan Reimold, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Matt Wieters, C
Wilson Betemit, 3B
Mark Reynolds, DH
Chris Davis, 1B
Robert Andino, 2B

Pitching: LH Brian Matusz (0-2, 8.38 ERA)

Angels (4-9)

Erick Aybar, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Torii Hunter, RF
Mark Trumbo, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Chris Iannetta, C
Alberto Callaspo, 3B

Pitching: RH Jerome Williams (0-1, 16.87 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • This you see above you is lineup No. 12 for the Angels and manager Mike Scioscia. It’s Trumbo’s first start of the season in the outfield, Peter Bourjos‘ (.206 BA) second day off in the last three days and the lowest Kendrys Morales (0-for-8 vs. LHs) has hit in the lineup since 2009.
  • Scioscia, on the club’s disappointing start: “Would we rather have a better record? Absolutely at this point. You try to go out there and win every game, but I think there’s a mild frustration with some guys because they know we wanted to get off to a good start and we’re not there right now. The talent in this team is just real. And it’ll come to the forefront. And when that starts to happen, I think you’ll see a lot of guys relax and get into their game.”
  • Trumbo, in case you hadn’t noticed, hasn’t started a game at third base since April 13. Trumbo and Scioscia both admitted he’s more comfortable in the corner outfield right now, but Scioscia re-emphasized: “He’s going to play third base. But we want him in there more than maybe what you would project the day starting at third base would be for the season, so he’s going to have to play osme corner outfield, some third bae and also DH.”
  • Still no save chance for Jordan Walden, as the Angels are the only Major League team without a save.
  • All-Star Game balloting has begun.

Some links from Thursday …

Some AL West links …

  • The Rangers and Tigers were rained out Friday, so Matt Harrison will have to wait again
  • The A’s (remember them?) win three straight vs. Angels
  • Ichiro Suzuki is producing from the 3 spot

And the Miami Heat won a chippy game over the Chicago Bulls.


D-backs struggling, but two key guys thriving

MIAMI — Yes, the Diamondbacks — a team I thought would compete in what I felt was a wide-open National League West — are in last place. And, sure, that bullpen — with a 7.70 ERA that easily ranks last in the Majors going into Friday — has been dreadful. 

But there are some positive signs on this team, and two of them come from a couple of the guys fans were most worried about last season: shortstop Stephen Drew and center fielder Chris Young
Last year, Drew (pictured left) plummeted after a nice 2008 season by hitting just .261 in 135 games. Young, meanwhile, had never been able to follow up on a promising rookie season in 2007, as he sports a .235 batting average his previous three seasons. 
But both have turned it around so far.
Drew hit .365 in Cactus League play this spring and has carried that into the regular season, as he sports a solid .304 batting average with 19 RBIs in his first 39 games. Young tore it up last September — batting .278 with eight homers in his last 28 games of the season — and is hitting .282 with five homers and 29 RBIs in 41 games while playing outstanding defense in the outfield. 
I covered the D-backs when they played the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium earlier this week, and I got a chance to ask around about what has led to the early season turnarounds of these two.
In Drew’s case, hitting coach Jack Howell credits a simplified approach. 
“Last year, he spent a lot of time kind of going in and out of his swing,” Howell told me. “Because he gets a little lazy and the bat head drops, and he was getting more fly balls then balls that were backspun. So we spent a lot of time working on that, and then I think the thing that really helped him is that he’s getting better pitches to hit, and I think that’s a lot because he simplified his approach. And what I mean by that is we really talk more, but we don’t go into great-detail kind of stuff on how guys are trying to pitch him and go into all the percentages and stuff. He kind of just wants to know more velocity and the pitches the guy has and to think more see it and hit it.”
“We started that in spring, where he’s kind of focused on seeing it and hitting it hard,” Howell added. “And then any time, if the bat gets a little loopy or whatever, then we have a couple of drills that we work on to kind of get it in a better direction, which helps him stay in the zone longer.”
Thumbnail image for Colorado+Rockies+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+65Hhyr_GFfil.jpg
As for Young (pictured right), manager A.J. Hinch credits his balance.
“He’s maintained really good balance at the plate,” Hinch told me. “And balance, you can say it’s physical balance. He’s not skating as much in the batter’s box and not getting out of position very often. But it’s almost a mental balance for him of taking every at-bat as a once-at-bat challenge and not dwelling on the mistakes that he makes or the misses that he has.”
The D-backs (18-24) are six games below .500 and 6 1/2 games back while in the basement of the NL West. But don’t blame the offense. They lead the league in runs and homers, while Drew and Young have been solid, new addition Kelly Johnson has been great, franchise player Justin Upton is starting to hit again, and Mark Reynolds is still doing his thing. 

Alden Gonzalez
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